The other day, I spent a ludicrous amount of time debating whether to buy myself a personalised Love Island water bottle. The reasons against are manifold:
It seems a shame to end Nintendo's extraordinary 2017 on a bum note, but here we are. The Champion's Ballad, the second expansion pack for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is a workmanlike add-on that gives you a little bit more of one of the best games in years, without giving you more of what you really want.
You've read Eurogamer's games of 2017 list, but how did we settle on the top 10? A mixture of science and alcohol, it turns out.
A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.
Yes, I am late to the new Zelda, but I am playing now and catching up on the sense of wonder and discovery that everybody else experienced back at the start of the year. I've just finished the fourth shrine in the Great Plateau region - for me it was the Owa Daim Shrine, where you undergo the Stasis Trial - and I realised that everything that is so new and startling, and yet so harmonious and deeply right about this new Zelda is present in microcosm in this single puzzle chamber. Oh, and I discovered the screenshot button too. So let's take a look, eh?
Archaeology doesn't get a very good treatment in popular media, and games are no different. The public image of archaeologists is dominated by pulp fantasy heroes, swinging and scrambling their way through trap-infested ancient ruins, one hand clutching a priceless treasure, the other punching a Nazi in the face. Of course, pulp heroics make for much more entertaining movies and games than Indiana Jones and the Afternoon of Context Sheets or Newly-Qualified Archaeology Student Lara Croft Spends Four Years Trying to Get a Stable Job. Even archaeologists grasp this, for all our protestations. Like lapsed Catholics who can't quite give up their patron saint, many of the archaeologists I've known would admit to Indiana Jones being a bit of a guilty role model. While writing this piece I tried to find a photo of my hard hat from my days as a field archaeologist, a promotional sticker from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull emblazoned across the back, but sadly, all record of this sartorial triumph seems lost.
Now here's the thing: The world of Breath of the Wild is one of the most spectacular in a Zelda game yet. Its Hyrule is a recognisable, organic one. All majestic vistas and the just-so undulations of hills and so-true sparkles on running streams and so on. To video game fans, who've grown up bearing witness to the medium's alternate genesis story (Let there be Polygons! Let there be Light Sources and Physics!) digital recreation itself is a celebration. And Breath of the Wild celebrates a lot.
Four months later, I'm only halfway through Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It's not because I've stopped playing - far from it. 120 hours later, I'm still exploring. I can't remember the last time I played a game and deliberately slowed my pace to ensure I see everything, to make every Sheikah tower-uncovered map piece last as long possible. Nintendo's new DLC The Master Trials caters for players who, like me, are still pottering about Hyrule, hunting Koroks or pinning down the next shrine - as well as to those who have finished, by offering up a couple of much tougher challenges.
How do you fix open world games?
Did you know that in 2015 more people died while taking selfies than were killed in deadly shark attacks? I don't know how many people typically die in deadly shark attacks each year, and I've wasted enough of Google's time this week to bother finding out, but it makes for a snippy tabloid headline, or barstool factoid -- providing nobody asks too many follow-ups. Like a furious and lonely baby boomer in a Daily Mail comments section, I'd be tempted to judge the unfortunates behind the statistic were it not for the fact that, earlier this week I fell out of a tree while trying to photograph bird eggs.
I want to tell you about the moment I figured out what sort of game Breath of the Wild was. There have been many moments like it since, and everybody who plays it will have dozens of their own. But this one was mine.
Do you remember your first adventures in Minecraft? I do. I was mostly confused. For much of its history, Minecraft hasn't done much to help you understand how to play it, how to craft things, what these crafted things do, and why you'd want them. It doesn't tell you about the alternate dimensions that you can visit, or about how you get to them. It doesn't tell you why should should play or what you're aiming for.
For many, the highlight of last week's Nintendo Switch event was the beautiful new look at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which launches alongside the new console on 3rd March.
While the original Legend Of Zelda was definitely a pioneer in terms of a game being set in an open world, it's the upcoming Breath of the Wild where the series has truly embraced what the genre is known for today. With a sweeping landscape and the always appealing selling point of 'if you see it, you can travel there', in many ways it's brand new territory for Nintendo. And with that comes a lot of anticipation, excitement and intrigue.
In the first dungeon - deep breath - I find a dark room hidden behind a door that is opened by a switch that is hidden behind a block. Wheels within wheels! And yet, things get stranger still. Inside this dark room that I have just uncovered stands an old man with a message: "The eastmost peninsula is the secret."
Drawing perhaps the longest queue in E3 history, it's fair to say that The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild was quite the crowd pleaser at the show last week. It's no surprise either - fans have been patiently awaiting the release of a new Zelda title on Wii U for years and having spent hands-on time with the game, not to mention poring over all available media, the reasons behind the lengthy development cycle become clear.
One week ago, I played Zelda: Breath of the Wild and thought it was Nintendo's most ambitious game in years. It was the first game I played at this year's E3, and it remained my personal game of the show for the rest of the week.
We've decided to take a slightly different tack with our E3 awards this year. Rather than pick a single game of the show, or nominate games to other sub-categories based on genre or achievement in some specific area of technology or design, we've simply picked five games that particularly impressed us this week and presented them with our Editors' Choice Awards.
Early on in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you are treated to a sweeping overview of your surroundings. It is a visually stunning moment unlike anything else in the series: a bold statement of intent and an open invitation to explore the vista before you. Fields and forests stretch outwards to the horizon, gently blurring into a painterly haze. Beyond these lie the far-off silhouettes of landmarks such as Hyrule Castle and Death Mountain. See all this space? This is all yours to explore. And beyond that? There's even more.
Our daily roundups from E3 2015: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Friday